Debating India

HARYANA REGIONAL 2005

Ambala City a hot seat for Congress, BJP

Monday 10 January 2005, by AHUJA*Rajesh

CHANDIGARH, JAN.9. Even as the local aspirants for the Congress ticket for the prestigious Ambala City constituency are coming to stoically accept the fait accompli that the former Union Minister and Congress Working Committee member, Venod Sharma, could get the High Command’s seal of approval, the "revolt’’ within the City unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is snowballing into a major crisis over the party’s decision to renominate the outgoing MLA, Veena Chibber.

According to highly-placed sources, local leaders in Ambala belonging to several factions in the Congress had been "assured by their respective political masters’’ that they would surely get preference in the selection of party candidate. However, the inclination of the party High Command to field Mr. Sharma, who has business interests in Haryana, upset the applecart of these aspirants. They have gone to their political masters and protested against the move.

But the senior State Congress leaders are understood to have advised these aspirants not to raise a banner of revolt and work wholeheartedly for the success of whomsoever was ultimately fielded from the constituency. According to one of these aspirants, there was no other way but to accept the ground reality.

According to insiders, Mr. Sharma’s name is reported to be on the top of the panel submitted to the High Command. The other names are those of Pawan Walecha, Usha Sharma, Sumer Chand Bhatt and Balwant Gupta.

However, the BJP leaders and workers are in no mood to relent. In fact, the protests against the High Command’s diktat to field Ms. Chibber for yet another term are rising stridently and these leaders have threatened to resign from the party. Most of these leaders are office-bearers of the Ambala City unit of the party. According to them, the party leadership should review the decision and field some other suitable candidate who enjoys the support and trust of partymen.

According to BJP insiders, a former party MP is said to be behind the "move’’ to field some other suitable candidate such as the former Deputy Speaker of the Haryana Assembly, Faqir Chand Aggarwal.

See online : The Hindu

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